Back in Europe this week and we look at Denmark, our first country in the series without any ‘regions’ on RateBeer (the Danish Admins didn’t want to split their country), and our first dip into Scandinavia. Jutland and 443 named islands make up the country which covers around 16,500 Square Miles.
Right, Denmark to us Brits is all about Hans Christen Anderson, Bacon, Maersk, a Little Mermaid, Carlsberg adverts and Hamlet, oh and Mikkeller if you use this site!
Most known fact is there are more pigs than humans living (and dying) in Denmark, ratio is about 2 to 1.
Beer wise it’s a pretty boozy place with 319 active breweries according to the data base, 91 others have closed. We still have a very active Danish contingent on RateBeer with some well known names still rating. The top raters of Danish beers haven’t been hanging around and the totals are impressive:
#8 with 144 ratings, #2 with an average rating of 3.52. 18 beers rated 4+ is a solid record!
Mostly Mikkeller, Amage, To Ol
My Rating Avg Entered Updated
Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel 4.4
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast 4.3
Mikkeller Single Hop Simcoe IPA 4.3
Mikkeller Nelson Sauvignon 4.3
Midtfyns Imperial Stout 4.2
I have only had 5 Danish ratings in the last five years, which is likely part of why the average rating has stayed high. It seems like they mostly stopped showing up in Ontario. A lot of those ratings were acquired in Buffalo NY and our trips there had slowed down quite a bit over the years (a combination of politics making it unappealing and an improved local beer scene making it less necessary, oh and a pandemic… I haven’t been to the US since 2016), plus the bottle shop we frequented had a habit of keeping lower ABV Mikkeller products on the shelf too long so we had stopped gambling on those even before then.
Having recently watched the movie Riders of Justice with Mads Mikkelsen I would love to know if the darkly comedic aspects of it play the same to a Danish audience as they do as they did for a North American watching it with subtitles.
Just 7 Danish rates for me, and none sampled in the country itself - top rated for me was BRUS House of Pale (actually my can was To Ol House of Pale, but whatever!), and I’ve had beers from Mikkeller, Gamma & Norrebro (at this point I’m going to apologise to all the Danes for not using the required special characters - I don’t know them or how to type them!). My one and only visit was back in 2016, spent a week or so at one of our warehouses trying to help fix some issues, was just before Christmas and spent long days working so only saw Copenhagen in the dark - managed to find Fermentoren & Warpigs and had a grand time in both (preffered the former), also strolled around the Tivoli Gardens one evening, what a lovely place. I’d love to go back, and see more of the place. And it’s quite possible there’s Danish blood in my family - them Vikings came over to Blighty and had right royal time oop north!
so how many people’s ‘Danish’ totals are inflated by beers brewed in Belgium… 600 ‘Danish’ beers on my list but probably over half brewed at Proef (always noted where brewed where possible, but obviously can’t always tell with draught short of someone looking at the keg)
Been to Denmark twice, though one was only a day trip (from Germany), and both long before I joined RB. Did a couple of brewpubs, neither were heavy drinking trips mainly due to the prices - even then the cost of beer was eye-watering and that was at c11kr to the quid, so now I dread to think! That said, at the time I was mostly drinking £2 cask in the UK, whereas now I mostly drink craft keg, so maybe Denmark won’t feel such a walletectomy
Denmark is nestling behind Belgium and Germany in my modest totals (36). Surprisingly, Mikkeller is only responsible for 5 of my top 10 with To0l and Dry and Bitter featuring well with the last making up over a third of my slender total. I have visited Copenhagen three times and I have always found it a really pleasant city with a compact centre and friendly people. These were largely business trips so others were in charge of hospitality although it was made clear that no one was expected to buy a round. I gather this is even more true in the rest of Scandinavia. I remain puzzled why the draconian tax on alcohol hasn’t killed really good beer. I would like to go back and see a bit more of the countryside, although not necessarily a pig farm!
No ratings for me but I have tried more than 1200 Danish beers. I seldom buy Danish beers here in Norway but have visited Denmark almost every second year since the 90s. I have 71 place ratings but is far from the top five list. In March there is a possibility I will visit Odense. If so happens, Denmark will pass the US (75), Czech Republic (76) and Germany (77) Another fun thing when visiting Denmark: I often find new bottles or cans from Greenland and Faroe Island. Mostly mediocre or crappy beers, but a must for me. Beers from Iceland are also often present in well stocked bottle shops.
To be honest, I have always held Mikkeller in high regards and will continue to. Mikkeller was there right at the very start of my craft beer odyssey. I’ve probably mentioned this in the forums before but the head brewer at De Proef was a big fan of a band I worked with back in 2011, and would regularly bring cases of fresh Mikkeller whenever we were in Belgium. It was the first time I’d seen barrel-aged beers, single-hop beers & corked and caged beers and was blown away by them all. It’s great to see him continue to push boundaries in the years since with the Baghaven project and others.
Have visited Denmark many times. For me a visit to the country meant ferries and / or long bridge crossings. The Helsingor / Helsingborg crossing was 15 mins, short and sweet and meant we could stay in the van. The Putgarden / Rodby ferry was a bit longer and enabled us to grab a schnitzel and fries and admire the view.
@BlackHaddock you’d be interested in the bridges. The Great Belt Bridge is ridiculous - 11 miles including an underground section… just seemed to never end! The Oresund Bridge to Sweden is 2.5 miles and equally impressive, esp on a nice sunny day.
Copenhagen’s a great city, probably my favourite Scandinavian city in fact. Just has a nice feel about it, for the most part. Cristiania is a strange place. Supposedly run semi-autonomously by hippies, threatened with closure numerous times. Had some very good experiences there (an evening in a smoky jazz club, watching films in their arthouse cinema, a raucous bar) and not so great daytime experiences. Perhaps it’s gone a bit downhill.
Beer wise, I spent a few days in Copenhagen with my partner in 2016 and visited the excellent Ramen to Birru, Warpigs, Mikkeller & Friends, the other Mikkeller bar and Fermentoren, plus that little bottle shop near Fermentoren. All equally great places.
Denmark sits in 11th place within my stats, on 123 beers from 25 breweries at an average score of 3.1.
Mikkeller has me on 33 beers with To Øl second with 22 (To Øl CPH is on 7). One of our Shrewsbury Beer Gathering regulars is a huge To Øl fan, so almost all of my rates from them are via Simon (as will @minutemat’s).
Only been to Denmark once: 1st European Beer Festival, September 2008. It was held in a huge warehouse type building inside the famous ‘Elephant Gates’ of the Carlsberg Brewery. My wife and I had a great time at the festival and in the city of Copenhagen, which we both loved. Four place ratings from that fondly remembered trip, need to re-visit one day.
We walked out to see the ‘Little Mermaid’ but we couldn’t really enjoy the experience as it was obliterated from view by Japanese tourists climbing all over her and having their picture taken. There seemed to be a never ending stream of them, so we gave up and wandered off back into town.
No bridges crossed off (we took a ferry to Sweden while there though). The huge Øresund Bridge (from Copenhagen to Malmo) doesn’t have a footpath, so that’s not going to happen, pity.
Was your day trip from Germany up from the Kiel / Hamburg direction ? That was my first time on Danish soil … early noughties … some shack literally 2 miles over the border … DB train reversed there. One of those rateable ‘Nocabs’ you Euro 4/5/6/7’s froth about rolled through whilst we had ice creams on the platform … ended up at Flensburg later on IIRC … drank some wet pils at the source!
Flensburg I assume you mean as the shack over the border? I did an overnight from Koln to Kobenhavn, with a bit of gen from a mate who lives there I boshed my last 5 ME then went for very expensive beer til the overnight back the same way, but in the other portion towards Munchen I think
My 7th most rated country with 57 and from 11 breweries. Never visited Denmark (or any of Scandinavia for the matter) but high on list of future adventures. I did go to Torst in Brooklyn a bunch of times which has Scandinavian design. I do like crime dramas in both film, tv, and novels and I visited this region a bunch in my mind. Just finished The Chestnut Man a month or so ago on Netflix and also enjoyed The Bridge. I read a few novels from Dept Q series which were pretty good.
Denmark is my 3rd most rated country with 2514 ratings. 2.88 average.
Denmark was actually the last country in Scandinavia where craft beer took of. In the 90’s it was still a Carlsberg wasteland where the only competitors fought in the budget laget segment.
Then things exploded, and during the golden days of Ratebeer Denmark was the epicentre of European craft beer movement. Yearly Copenhagen beer trips were pretty much mandatory for all serious Ratebeerians. After Mikkeller split away from Copenhagen Beer Fest I thought that things got too commercialized and have directed my beer pilgrimages elsewhere.
I have lots of great memories from various tasting, pub crawls and festivals with the community across Denmark.
Denmark is one of my favourite countries and I’ve been there 3 times so far. My first visit was back in the late 80’s on a 3 week Inter Rail trip, took a train from Hamburg overnight and the train went on the Puttgarden - Rodby ferry and on to Copenhagen. Been to Copenhagen by air twice since, done all the usual sights including the tiny mermaid. They knock out some great beer for such a small country, I’ve rated 80 beers so far. I particularly like Amager Bryghus. Other good breweries for me are Mikkeller, To Ol, Dry & Bitter. Would like to visit Aalborg some time in the future.
I’ve been to Denmark a few times, visited in '99 & stay with a friend from travelling a bus ride away from Copenhagen. Highlights were not beer related back then, drinking Tuborg over Carlsberg, we visited a few cracking places on day trips like the white cliffs on the island of Mon, Roskilde Viking ship & Kronborg castle setting of Hamlet, plus some Copenhagen sights like Tivoli Gardens.
That trip I also visited the interesting Danish island of Bornholm, which is much closer to Sweden.
My most recent visit was for New Year 2016/17 again to Copenhagen. Much better beer experiences although I pushed the boundary’s of my marriage by insisting we walk back from Kihoskh bottle shop carrying a fair haul of beers rather than get a taxi. It was a very enjoyable city trip, although the the personal firework action on the streets was downright dangerous. The other beer memory was seeing in a cafe & not buying right then a Greenland beer, I went back the day we left but the place was closed.
56 beer rating, some which are actually made in the country rather than Belgium, although To Øl started production in 2020 at the purpose built 26,000 square metres facility in Svinninge.
11th highest country, but No. 1 with a 3.48 average.
Top ratings - Beer Here Dark Hops, To Øl Formørkelse & To Øl Santa’s Secret Mochaccino Messiah Triple Shot on 4.0
Mikkeller Jackie Brown & Gamma Freak Wave on 3.9
Mikkeller Monks Elixir, To Øl Whirl Domination, Thisted Limfjords Porter & Dry & Bitter / FrauGruber / Prizm Trading Places on 3.8
To Øl average 3.57 over 13
Mikkeller 3.49 over 16
4 place rating from that recent trip - Mikkeller Bar (Viktogiagade) & Kihoskh both on 88
I’ll be more than happy for a return trip perhaps to Jutland as for some reason I’ve always wanted to visit the original Legoland.
I’m sure I’m in the majority in considering Denmark one of the ‘big boys’ of craft beer. They are eighth for me with 43 rates. Decent for someone like me but I know I’d not get anywhere near the leaderboard! It’s got the 7th highest average for me though, just behind the Netherlands and Belgium. Lots of high rates here:
Looking at where my rates come from, I realise I really need to branch out a bit. I have 23 Mikkeller rates (so over half my Denmark rates in total) followed by To Øl with 9. So, to echo the thoughts of others on this thread, how many of my Denmark rates were actually brewed in Denmark?
No place rates: Denmark is yet another country that I keep saying I want to visit but haven’t done. After the pandemic, international travel still seems insurmountable. Hopefully one day.
Also Lego, surprised no-one’s mentioned that. And lots of words that sound rude to British ears - for example, “boghandel” for bookshop or having to press a button marked “I fart” to summon lifts!). I would love to hear what English words sound rude to Danish ears, I’m sure there are plenty!
I’ve had a not-so-grand total of 15 beers from Denmark, with all but one being from Mikkeller or To Øl (the sole exception was from Carlsberg, unsurprisingly). My top Danish brews to date are:
Mikkeller are my 13th highest-rated brewer at 3.56.
My one two-day trip to Denmark was long pre-RB, so no place rates. But I do have a few beery memories. We couldn’t get anywhere cheap to stay in Copenhagen, so we instead stayed in Helsingør up the coast (home to Hamlet’s castle, but otherwise not the nicest place, full of Swedish day-trippers coming across to Denmark for the (slightly) less expensive beer.
We spent a day and evening in Copenhagen which I really liked. We managed to find a bar selling reasonably-priced (for Denmark) beer, which was bizarrely accessed from the steps of a multi-storey car park. The toilets had Japanese characters on the door rather than the usual male & female symbols. When I asked the barman which was which he told me I’d have to guess - fortunately I guessed right!
After a late night chatting to the friendly regulars, my friend fell into a drink-induced heavy sleep on the train back to Helsingør. I tried and failed to wake him as we approached the station. A passing Dane (clearly with strong Viking genes) said “you are trying to wake your friend, yes?”. I replied in the affirmative. The Dane then punched my friend hard in the head. My friend awoke, somewhat muzzily, and the Dane said with some satisfaction “There. He’s awake” and walked off. Needless to say my friend wasn’t aware of what was happened, but we were at least able to make the station - so a big thank you to that Dane if he’s reading for punching my friend in the head!